Driving through the narrow streets of New Orleans can be frustrating at times. It can also be dangerous, with multiple collisions happening every day. In the blink of an eye, a car crash can change the course of your entire life.
At Stewart J Guss, Injury Accident Lawyers, our New Orleans car accident attorneys have seen the devastating aftermath of car crashes firsthand. We know the struggle of dealing with serious injuries, and we understand the financial anxiety a car accident can cause for victims and their families. But you don’t have to take on careless drivers all by yourself.
If you are looking for a New Orleans car accident lawyer near you, we’re ready to help! Someone is ready to listen 24 HOURS A DAY, 7 DAYS A WEEK—so don’t hesitate to call 800-898-4877 or CLICK HERE to contact us online and discuss your case with us!
Don’t wait to learn about your legal rights. One wrong decision could mean all the difference between ruination and relief.
On this page, we aim to answer all of your car accident claims questions. We cover everything from causes of New Orleans car accidents to how the claims process works to how an auto accident attorney can help you get the most money from your car accident. Read on or reach out now for the answers you need!
How Much is My New Orleans Car Accident Claim Worth?
Recovering Compensation for Your Car Accident Losses
Car accidents in New Orleans are traumatic events that can result in a wide range of injuries and losses. Whether you have a broken bone, a traumatic brain injury, or a life-altering disability, the expenses add up quickly. A critical part of any New Orleans accident injury claim is determining the value of your losses so you and your personal injury lawyer know how much compensation to seek.
When calculating the value of your claim, your New Orleans car accident lawyer will consider the following:
- Costs of all medical care
- Estimated costs for any future medical care you will need
- Lost wages from missing work
- Future lost income, if your injuries keep you from returning to work
- Physical and emotional pain and suffering
- Permanent disabilities or disfigurement
- Punitive damages in the event of egregious negligence by the defendant
When these damages are added together, you can estimate the total value of your claim. However, the struggle doesn’t stop there. Insurance companies regularly contest the value of losses in car accident cases. Insurance adjusters may try to question the severity of your injuries or the necessity of all medical care, dismissing your pain and invalidating your feelings every step of the way. They may also claim you could’ve returned to work sooner than you did, because they want to avoid covering your lost wages.
These are only a few of the many ways an insurance company will try to limit its liability. Insurance companies are NOT on your side. They may even try to tell you that you don’t need a law firm, but this is only an attempt to pay out less than they should.
Let our New Orleans legal team handle your claim from the very beginning to make sure you have the best possible chance of receiving the maximum car accident settlement amount you deserve.
Causes of Auto Accidents in New Orleans
Driving in the French Quarter is a nightmare. If you’re commuting to or from the Central Business District, you’re bound to encounter rush hour traffic. Crowds of tourists on foot only make it worse. Everywhere you look, drivers are breaking the law. Whether they roll through a stop sign, cut you off, type up a text, or make other errors in judgment, dangerous drivers can bring your journey — and your daily life — to a screeching halt.
The first step to collect money for your losses is to identify which party or parties can be held responsible. However, proving a driver was at fault can be challenging, especially if NOPD officers didn’t issue any citations or make any arrests at the scene. This doesn’t mean you should give up, but it does mean you’ll need the help of a law firm with the right resources to determine liability.
When someone else is negligent and causes a car wreck, that party should face liability for all your losses. Simple, right? Not so fast! While you may assume that other drivers are always at fault, this is not always the case.
Review our page on New Orleans auto accident statistics or look at some of the common causes listed below:
New Orleans is a city known for its bars and jubilant nightlife, but each resident still has a responsibility to never get behind the wheel when tipsy. Unfortunately, not everyone believes this. Last year, more than 150 drivers in fatal Louisiana car crashes had blood alcohol levels over the legal limit of .08%. Alcohol was also involved in 35% of all fatal Louisiana motorcycle accidents, 21% of all fatal Louisiana pedestrian accidents, and 25% of all fatal Louisiana bicycle accidents that year. Accident rates also spike during Mardi Gras season due to drunk driving. If you were hurt in a New Orleans drunk driving accident, you deserve justice.
This one doesn’t just apply to narcotics. Did you know some prescription drugs and even over-the-counter drugs can affect a person’s ability to operate a motor vehicle? They may be charged with an impairment DUI if they’ve been substantially affected by their medication, even if it was legally obtained.
Every day in America, 8 people are killed by distracted drivers. Cell phones are the biggest temptation drivers face today, but there are numerous other driver distractions like snacking, changing a radio station, applying makeup, and even chatting with passengers. Younger drivers have a higher risk of getting into a distracted driving accident. To avoid an accident, it’s imperative to keep your eyes on the road, keep your hands on the wheel, and keep your mind on driving!
New Orleans distracted driving laws prohibit drivers from using mobile devices to write, send, or read messages or posts. They may only use their phones for GPS features or to report emergencies. Additionally, drivers cannot talk on the phone while passing through a New Orleans school zone. If you break these laws, you will be fined and your license may be suspended.
Studies show drowsy driving can be just as bad as drunk driving! A study by AAA estimated that fatigued driving contributes to approximately 10% of all car crashes, and missing out on just a few hours of sleep can more than quadruple your risk for a crash. Falling asleep at the wheel is a serious problem because in just a few seconds, a fatigued driver’s car could drift into oncoming traffic and cause a head-on collision.
According to the city’s code of ordinances, the speed limit for most New Orleans streets is 25 miles per hour. It might be tempting to break this rule when you’re in a rush, but keep in mind that speeding contributes to nearly one third of all car accident fatalities. It’s a simple law of physics: the faster two objects are traveling, the greater the force of impact will be when they collide.
Running Red Lights
We all have places to be, but that’s no excuse for disobeying a traffic light. Many broadside collisions, also known as T-bone accidents, occur due to drivers zooming through red lights. Thanks to New Orleans red light cameras, drivers will be fined a minimum of $100 if they’re caught running a red light. Additional fines for speeding apply.
Failing to Yield
When a reckless driver blows through an intersection without respecting the right of way, they endanger the lives of others. If a particularly impatient driver fails to yield the right of way at a crosswalk, serious New Orleans pedestrian accidents can happen.
If a driver is tailgating the vehicle in front of them, they won’t have adequate time to avoid a crash if that vehicle stops or encounters an accident up ahead. When driving or stopping behind another vehicle, a good rule of thumb is that you should be able to see where their tires touch the ground. Always leave at least that much space — preferably more!
Dangerous Lane Changes
Aside from tailgating, impatient drivers in New Orleans have a few other bad habits. Other aggressive driving maneuvers include overtaking a vehicle and cutting someone off in the midst of a dangerous lane change. This aggression can surprise other drivers and cause them to stop abruptly. Sideswipe accidents and multi-car pile-ups can happen as a result of this behavior.
Additionally, when it comes to motorcycle accidents, motorcycle riders sometimes put themselves at risk by riding in between lanes of slow or stationary traffic. This maneuver, known as lane-splitting, is illegal in Louisiana.
Dangerous New Orleans Roads
State and local transportation departments in the New Orleans area are notorious for failing to maintain roads and highways. In fact, in recent years, I-10 ranked as the fourth-worst maintained roadway in the entire United States! All too often, drivers hit a pothole or another dangerous road hazard and lose control of their cars, causing them to crash.
There is no excuse for crumbling or cracked roads, and negligent government agencies should fully compensate any injured accident victims. However, Louisiana has specific laws that govern claims against public agencies. If you don’t follow the procedures exactly, you risk losing the compensation you deserve. If you think a road hazard or dangerously designed road caused your crash, call our New Orleans car accident law firm as soon as you possibly can.
Sometimes even the most responsible drivers on the smoothest roads lose control and crash. Often, this happens because an important part of the car malfunctioned without warning. Some vehicle parts that can malfunction and cause accidents include brakes, axles, tires, steering systems, ignition switches, airbags, and more. Auto manufacturers have a duty to make and sell safe vehicles and parts. When defective design or assembly causes a malfunction, the manufacturer should cover all related losses for an accident victim. However, going up against large corporations is intimidating and challenging. Make sure you have a fierce legal team standing up for your rights against auto manufacturers.
Additionally,18-wheeler trucks traveling through New Orleans> bring their own set of problems, like big blind spots and wide turns.
Our experienced car accident legal team handles cases involving many different causes of car accidents. We can also help you determine if a wrongful death lawsuit is possible after a fatal New Orleans car accident. No matter what caused your accident, we want to help make it right.
New Orleans Car Accident FAQs
Car accidents in New Orleans are scary. There is little doubt you have questions, and you need answers to make the right decisions for you and your family. Here are some commonly asked questions the team at Stewart J. Guss, Injury Accident Lawyers often hears.
What Steps Should I Take After a Car Accident?
You need to make sure you are protecting yourself from further injury.
Additionally, the following will help strengthen your legal position:
- Report the accident to the authorities
- Obtain the other driver’s information
- Get witness contact information
- Take photographs of the scene, damage, and injuries
- Seek immediate medical care
- Contact your insurance company
- Contact our New Orleans car accident lawyers at Stewart J. Guss, Injury Accident Lawyers.
Are There Things I Should Avoid After a Car Accident?
Yes! Never give the impression that you were partially at fault for a car accident. This includes making seemingly innocent comments at the scene, like “I’m sorry.” When discussing an accident with your insurance company, avoid giving a recorded statement and do not say anything which will give the impression that you might be at fault.
You should also avoid posting on social media sites about the accident. Insurers are liable to check your social media feed to minimize your claim.
How Soon Should I Contact a New Orleans Car Accident Lawyer?
The sooner, the better. While you have a full year to file an accident injury claim, what you will quickly learn is that things will move very quickly following your accident. In many cases, to encourage victims to accept a fast settlement, insurance company adjusters may contact you within a few days of your accident. They may even make a quick offer to settle your claim.
Never accept a settlement offer before you seek legal help. Insurance companies are hoping you will not realize that as soon as you accept an offer, you will lose any rights to be compensated for any losses that may arise after the settlement.
What Documents Should I Collect or Save After a Car Accident?
Certain documents will help bolster your car accident claim. For example, one of the first documents you will need to have is the accident report. You may request accident reports online approximately 20 days following the accident date.
Some of the other documents we can collect for you include:
- Medical statement regarding your injuries
- Pay stubs from before the accident
- Receipts for any medical bills you are paying for out of pocket
- Receipts for any time you have to take a taxi or rent a car to seek medical care
- Correspondence with the insurance company
- Written notes regarding your day-to-day condition if you are keeping a journal
Please speak with your car accident lawyer regarding any other documents they may wish for you to secure.
How Long Do I Have to File a Claim for Damages?
Like every state, Louisiana has a statute of limitations. After a New Orleans car accident, you have one year to file a claim for damages. Discuss this with your lawyer because if you have a serious injury, you may not know how much time you will need to recover.
The longer the recovery time, the longer it may be necessary to wait to file a claim. While this wait may seem frustrating, make sure your claim includes all of the financial losses you face from your injury.
What Should I Do If the Insurance Company Contacts Me?
It is common for the at-fault person’s insurance company to contact you shortly after an accident. This is one of the reasons why we often recommend you contact an attorney as soon as you are physically able after an accident. Never speak with any insurance adjuster without getting legal advice.
If you have already hired an attorney to represent you following a New Orleans car accident, you should refer the insurance company to them. If you receive any documents from an insurance company, you should not sign them without having them reviewed by your lawyer.
The Insurance Company Is Asking for a Recorded Statement. Now What?
Under no circumstances should you agree to a recorded statement. It does not matter if the insurance adjuster is from your insurer or the at-fault driver’s insurance company. Despite what you may think, insurance companies will not make the process easy for you to collect damages for your losses; quite the opposite. They will do everything possible to minimize their losses, which means minimizing the amount they payout to a victim.
Typically, when they record a statement, the insurance company will ask you several questions about the accident. They will then begin by asking you what seem to be different questions, but they are the same questions with slightly different wording. Once they have a complete interview on tape, they will compare your answers. Any discrepancy in your responses will allow them to reduce the amount they are offering as a settlement.
What Amount of Compensation Can I Expect From a Car Accident Injury?
It is impossible to answer accurately without specific information. Every car accident is different, and a victim’s injuries impact them differently. Most car accident victims can collect both economic and non-economic losses. In general, this is what you may expect:
Economic Losses You Can Claim:
- Medical bills – All out-of-pocket costs for medical care for the injuries suffered by the victim. This includes treatment of the injury, hospitalization where warranted, tests a victim may need, prescription drugs related to the injury, and rehabilitation costs when necessary.
- Lost income – Your lost income typically starts the day of your accident. When someone has a serious injury, particularly one that forces them to alter their work schedule or responsibilities, they may need to take long-term pay cuts. When filing a claim, your lawyer can help calculate the loss of wages resulting from your injuries.
- Additional expenses – Some car accident victims have to hire household help, rent a vehicle, or arrange transportation to and from doctor visits. The economic part of your accident injury claim may include these expenses.
Non-Economic Losses You May Claim:
A non-economic loss is challenging to assign a dollar value, such as:
- Victims suffering from car accident PTSD (post-traumatic stress disorder)
- Victims suffering anxiety, depression, or loss of enjoyment of life
- Punitive damages
Talk to your attorney about what damages you may be eligible to claim following a New Orleans car accident.
How Long Does It Take to Settle a New Orleans Car Accident Claim?
Several factors will determine how long your accident claim will take to settle, including:
- The extent of your injuries
- The number of parties responsible for your injury
- The willingness of the insurance company to make an offer
- The willingness of the insurance company to negotiate in good faith
- Whether your claim settles out of court or you must go to court
As you can see, there is no easy answer to this question. You can speak with your attorney regarding the average time they have handled cases take to settle.
If an At-Fault Driver Is Facing Criminal Charges, What Does That Mean for My Claim?
In some instances, the at-fault driver may face criminal charges because they were driving recklessly, operating under the influence, or other charges. However, this is not something that should impact your claim. Criminal law and civil law are two different types of law. You may need to testify in a criminal case. Still, the criminal case outcome will generally not affect your civil case against the driver responsible for your injuries.
How Does Someone Prove Negligence in a Car Accident Claim?
The victim must prove that the responsible party acted poorly in all personal injury claims. Miriam Webster Dictionary defines negligence as “failure to exercise the care that a reasonably prudent person would exercise in like circumstances.”
Therefore, as a victim, you must prove:
- The driver owed you a duty of care
- The driver breached their duty
- As a result of the driver’s breach, you suffered an injury
- As a result of your injury, you suffered a financial loss
Those operating a motor vehicle on New Orleans roadways must operate safely to avoid injuring another person. A breach of that duty can occur when operating impaired, falling asleep at the wheel, failing to abide by traffic signals, or using a cell phone while driving. Proving you suffered an injury and financial losses are easy to demonstrate.
What Do I Do If I Get a Settlement Offer?
If you have already hired an attorney, the insurance company is obligated to send the settlement offer to them. Remember, if your lawyer gets an offer from the insurer, they must share that information with you even if they feel that the offer is too low. Even when you have hired a lawyer, you have the right to accept or reject any offer made if you do not think it is fair.
Contact your attorney to see if they received the offer should you receive a settlement offer. If not, share it with them. Ask your lawyer to explain the pros and cons of each offer received. Remember, even when the insurance company says their offer is final, it may not be as final as they would like you to believe.
Can I Get as Good of a Settlement Without a Lawyer?
No. Insurance companies protect themselves with teams of lawyers. They know that most accident victims do not have an in-depth understanding of the laws that pertain to car accidents.
They also know that you don’t know how they minimize the amounts they pay out on claims. Insurers would generally prefer to work with clients not represented by competent legal counsel than those a New Orleans accident injury lawyer represents.
If I Am out of Work, How Am I Going to Pay for a Lawyer?
When someone is out of work and not collecting a paycheck regularly due to the injury they suffered in a car accident, it is perfectly natural to worry about a potentially significant legal bill.
Here is what you should know about hiring our team at Stewart J. Guss, Injury Accident Lawyers:
- Your initial consultation/case evaluation is free
- You never pay any of our legal fees upfront
- If we do not get a settlement, you pay no legal fees
The New Orleans car accident lawyers at Stewart J. Guss, Injury Accident Lawyers, accept cases on a contingency fee basis. You never pay us anything upfront to get our team working on your case. We will get to work representing your interests and doing what we do best: getting justice for our clients.
You do not have to worry about getting shocked by a substantial legal bill at the end of your case. First, our fee comes out of your settlement. Additionally, we will make sure you understand all fees required for your case ahead of time. We believe in being as open about the fees we charge and collect as possible.
If you suffered an injury in a New Orleans car accident or lost a loved one because of a negligent driver, contact Stewart J. Guss, Injury Accident Lawyers, today.
New Orleans Car Accident Lawyer Brian Page
Personal injury attorneys are trained to look at the big picture. They know how deeply a car accident impacts someone’s life. With the help of experts and investigators, they consider all of your future accident-related expenses, not just the ones you’re dealing with today.
By teaming up with a car accident lawyer, you could get an exponentially higher settlement amount than if you’d handled it yourself. When it comes to how to choose an auto accident lawyer, look for someone with local expertise.
Attorney Brian Page is a graduate of the Loyola University New Orleans College of Law and is currently licensed to practice in all Louisiana State Courts as well as in Federal Court for the Eastern District of Louisiana.
As a proud New Orleans resident and Super Lawyers nominee, Brian has dedicated his career to helping his fellow citizens bounce back from life-changing accidents. His past experience as a private investigator and his commitment to handling cases all the way from intake through trial enables him to meet the needs and expectations of personal injury victims throughout New Orleans.
Brian knows all the tricks insurance companies try to pull to discourage injured victims, and more importantly, he knows how to fight back! Reach out now to hear how Brian can put his skills to work for you.
Why Choose Stewart J. Guss, Injury Accident Lawyers?
Settling a personal injury claim with an insurance company can be a serious struggle. After reading this page, you may think you know how to settle a car accident claim without a lawyer, but trust us: a New Orleans car accident lawyer can help you get way more money from your accident.
Automobile accident claims settlements can be life-changing for victims and their families, but without the expert guidance of a lawyer, they may miss out on the money they deserve.
Our client-first approach means we prioritize customer satisfaction every step of the way. We treat our clients with the respect and compassion they deserve during this stressful time, and we are dedicated to their recovery. We work fast to connect our clients to the medical care they need at no upfront cost.
We are more than just your attorneys. We are your allies and advocates.
With national recognition, local expertise, and over two decades of experience, Stewart J. Guss Injury Accident Lawyers are proud to serve New Orleans residents. To see how we can help you, give us a call right now for a free, convenient, confidential consultation.
Stewart J Guss, Injury Accident Lawyers, New Orleans Office
Real People, Real Results
We value the time and trust of each and every person who reaches out to us for help, and there’s no greater accomplishment than getting referrals from our past clients. Check out what they have to say about their experiences:
See what past clients have to say:
★ ★ ★ ★ ★
“We received QUALITY service, reliable guidance and we are VERY satisfied with the outcome. Our treatment was both fair & honest; we highly recommend. If one word sums it up, the word would be Exceptional. “Thank you” for all you did!”
Since starting his firm in 1999, Stewart J. Guss has had the honor of representing clients from all over the world, helping them recover from even the most catastrophic injuries.
Today, thanks to a strong belief in those values of compassion, respect, and approachability, the firm has grown to employ over 120 legal professionals in numerous offices across 4 states, with nationwide reach.